Tag Archives: authors

Sharing and Storage on the Cloud for Writers

Castles in the Clouds

Using the Cloud for storing or accessing files has become second nature to most people these days. We use it to back up our files, share photos and text with family, co-workers and friends, or even do our work there, using our devices as mere input hardware.

When it comes to using the cloud for writing, my first thought is Dropbox. It seamlessly integrates with a large assortment of programs on my android table and iPod Touch and can be quite useful when I’m on the go. One my main uses of Dropbox is to store manuscripts as a backup in case I have a hard drive crash. My Scrivener program is set to automatically create a backup on Dropbox at the end of each day. I also like the use the other popular document storage cloud storage, Google Drive. I use this to store manuscripts that I wish to have critiqued privately by a small group of people. Placing it online with a password makes the work easier on everyone.

However, there are more sharing and storage apps available on the internet and I thought that I’d review a few that I’ve tried over the past year. It could be that one of these services might work better for you than Dropbox or Google Drive and could be a great addition to your app arsenal.

Dropbox
Free basic account 5GB storage
This is the one that started it all. I have used Dropbox for many years as a place to store manuscripts and backups of work in progress. It works with Scrivener, my writing program of choice, and it can be accessed from all my devices. It is not quite as flexible as some of the newer services, but it is stable and recognizable.

Crate
The first month is free and then it is $10 per year.
This is a file sharing tool. If you need to move large files via email, for instance novel manuscripts or large book covers, this service will handle it for you. All you do is type in the email you want to send the file to, upload it to their server and they will take care of the rest for you.

Box
10GB available storage for free
This service is similar to Dropbox, but with more free storage. You store your content online and access, share and manage it from all your devices. It integrates with Google Apps. A great way to share manuscripts with an editor or beta readers or book covers with contributing artists.

Cubby
Free Basic Account with 5GB storage
Cubby is another service similar to Dropbox, but its share folders are more flexible. You can have a “cubby” folder in the cloud, or can set any folder in your computer to become a cubby shared folder. If you upgrade to the first level of pro, you can even transfer your manuscripts directly to your various computers without going into the cloud at all. It supports access via all devices just like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Google Drive
5 GB of free storage
I confess that I don’t use this service as much as I should, but most of my writer friends love it. I’ve seen Excel forms set up to track contests, sharing of manuscripts with beta readers privately or in a small group or using the text editor to work on a Nanowrimo project on the fly. You should consider setting up an account here if you don’t have one yet.

SugarSync
Basic Free Account with 2GB storage
SugarSync allows you to instantly save your photos on the cloud, transfer files of any size via email or shared folders and it allows you to set any folder on your computer into a shared SugarSync folder. You can use this service to backup your computer to the cloud and it works with a large number of third party apps such as Evernote, Gmail and Salesforce.

I’m sure that there are many more similar services out there. Is there one I didn’t cover that is a favorite? Let me know in the comments.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksMaking your way in the world today as an author is an uphill battle. There are so many details you need to learn in order to make your career as a writer sing. This week I focused more on articles to help you with marketing and how to make yourself stand out as an author.

How to Write a Prize-Worthy Short Story: A Step-by-Step Guide

Want Readers to Adore Your Book? Learn How to Ace Your Climactic Moment

7 Reasons You Have More Writing Clips Than You Think

5 Ways to Be a Responsible Writer

How To Introduce Your Hero—Speculative Version

How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description & Metadata

5 Little-Known Tips to Make a Great Do-It-Yourself eBook Cover

Foreign Translations and Indie Publishing

205 Author Hashtags

Shocks and Surprises in Fiction: All in Good Fun, or a Gimmick?

Reviews of Writing #Podcasts

microphoneI love podcasts. They are free of charge, come in a wide variety of talk and music formats and I always keep my trusty iPod Touch loaded with the latest of my subscriptions. I listen to podcasts about the craft of writing when I’m out walking my dog, or on a long commute to work. I thought that I’d take a moment to share a few of the ones that I listen to. None of these podcasts approached me to review them, they are ones that I found either by word of mouth among my writer friends or stumbled upon on my own. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

I Should Be Writing
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This one is one of the first podcasts that I ever subscribed to. It is a long one, but it showcases the personality of writer and podcaster Mur Lafferty. The podcast gets into the nitty gritty of what it takes to be a successful writer. If you have the time to listen, it is one worth popping into your iPod.

The Creative Pen Podcast
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I have been a fan of JoAnne Penn for many years. I follow her written blog regularly and I occasionally listen to her podcast when I find the time. This is a podcast that is full of helpful advice for writers that goes beyond the basics. If you are new to writing genre podcasts, this is one of the ones you should try first.

Reading and Writing Podcast
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This is a author interview podcast by Jeff Rutherford is chock full of interviews by many recognizable authors. The podcasts tend to be short, only around 15 minutes, but you hear plenty of information during that time. This is a good one for readers since it helps to introduce new authors to you that you may not heard of before.

Helping Writers Become Authors
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The podcasts are very short, less than 10 minutes each. If you are a writer on the go, this short format might appeal to you. The topics covered are story arcs, finding inspiration for your stories, and other craft issues that all writers face.

The Dead Robot’s Society
FEED | WEBSITE

This is an all purpose podcast about the craft of writing, interviews with authors, and book reviews. It tends to be one of the longer podcasts in the writing genre, averaging between an hour to 90 minutes. Still, there is plenty of information packed into the podcasts and it is worth playing on your long commute if you have time to fill.

Writing Excuses
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I’ve become a fan of this writing podcast featuring Brandon Sanderson and his co-hosts Mary Robinette Kowel, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells. It is a short 15 minutes and covers writing craft techniques of a slightly more advanced nature and plenty of science fiction related story ideas to play with. There is also a writing prompt at the end. Give it a try. I think you’ll be pleased.

Brainstorming a Book Title for Independent Publishing

Moleskine Notebook - CC photo by Paul WorthingtonDuring the days when novels were only available in print and the publishing houses held a monopoly on which authors would sell their books or not, a book title was often chosen by them and not the author. The title would be short, easy to fit on the cover and the spine of the book, and would be something catchy to catch the attention of a browser in a book store. The combination of color, detailed artwork and title would make a novel marketable. Today, the model of selling books has changed. More authors are bypassing the publishing houses altogether and are independently publishing their novels to sell directly on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes or other alternate sites. There, the book is not physically present; it is simply a tiny image in a vast ocean of choices. It is easy for an author and her book to become lost at sea unless simple SEO techniques along with classic novel naming methods are used.

Intuitive Process of Generating a Book Title

Everyone brainstorms differently, but I will put down my method of thinking up SEO friendly titles for stories. My method is intuitive and will not work for everyone, but I find that it produces solid titles for my stories and articles. I prefer to use paper and pen for my brainstorming, however if you are more electronically inclined, feel free to use the word processor of your choice. Digital notebook systems such as Evernote or OneNote might be good options to use in this process too.

Step 1

Go to the genre category that your book would belong in on Amazon. Look at the titles of the novels that are already there. Try and gain a feel for what seems appropriate as a title for your genre. Pick out twenty titles that would be a close fit for your book or are similar in style to what you would want to name your book. Write these titles into a notebook and set it aside for later.

Step 2

Sit with a pen and notebook and free-associate words, making lists related to your novel. Put the words in columns: nouns, verbs, adjectives.


    List words that would describe or suggest the setting.
    Think about each of your major characters and write down words that relate to them.
    Ponder about the action in the story and write down verbs that capture it.
    Add character or place names with unusual spellings related to your novel.
    Write down any word or short phrase that conveys your book’s theme.
    Seek out visual words that suggest a scene.
    Use words that evoke emotions, a sensation, a question, or a location.

If you have a writing critique group, ask them to help you put the combinations of words together. Write the combinations of words out in a white board session. You should have no fewer than 100 words to choose from. Aim to create around twenty possible titles based on words related to your book, whether you do it on your own in your notebook or via your writing group. Write these into another list and set it aside.

Step 3

Once you are done brainstorming, put your list of newly created titles away for 24 hours. It is critical to take this down time to allow your subconscious to continue to work on the title project. When you return to your brainstormed list, you will be able to see it with renewed perspective. If new ideas have come to you during this short down period, add them to the brainstormed list.

Step 4

Take the generated list of twenty or more book titles and narrow it down to five possibilities. Take your short list back to your writing group and ask their opinions. Perhaps run a poll to find out which one is their favorite for your project. Take their opinions, but remember that it is your project and in the end, you are the one that is responsible for titling your book.

Step 5

Wait another day or two while you close the notebook on the title finalists. Allow your subconscious to work on the choices. Deep down, you know which title is the best one, but sometimes it takes a little while for the subconscious to filter up to our conscience minds. After this passage of time, narrow the list down to your final decision. Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of a titled novel.

Step 6

Pull out that list of titles you had gathered from the catalog at Amazon. Ask yourself if the title you’ve chosen would fit in this list, without being a clone of any of them. Titles of novels are not copyrightable and you could possibly copy another author’s title without risk of being sued. However, in the world of search engines, you will run the risk of readers being sent to this other book instead of your own as they search for you. It is always better to be unique and fresh when titling your novel.

Conclusion

When your ebook is nothing more than a tiny image on a catalog screen, you must make search engines work for you. Therefore, it is good to build keywords into your title along with traditional naming methods. Good keywords could be ones that are unique in spelling, but still instantly recognizable. While many authors still cling to the idea of a single word title, I personally feel that a slightly longer title works better in the digital age. You need to give the search engines more information to help differentiate your novel from that of your competitors and you must make it easier for your dedicated readers to find your book when they are looking for you. Find a balance between enough words to work with the search engines and short enough to be easily memorable to your readers. That will prove to be the perfect book title for an independent publishing author.